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The word periodontal literally means “surrounding a tooth.” Therefore, periodontal disease refers to when the gums, teeth, and bones around the teeth become infected, usually due to poor oral hygiene. It is manifested in two forms: periodontitis and gingivitis.
Plaque buildup is the main culprit in Periodontal Disease. Plaque buildup happens when naturally-occurring bacteria in the mouth combines with food ingredients and saliva. When plaque is not removed, it can move into the gums and the resulting irritation can lead to Periodontal Disease. The best prevention for plaque buildup is good oral care, including brushing your teeth, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist.
The symptoms can include gums that are red and swollen, halitosis (chronic bad breath), gums that bleed during brushing or flossing, or gums that pull away from the teeth. Although having these symptoms are generally signs of Periodontal Disease, it is important to remember that many people with Periodontal Disease don’t manifest any symptoms.
The diagnosis entails x-rays and probing. During the probing, the space between the teeth and gums is measured to determine the depth. These spaces are called pockets, and are measured from the bottom of the tooth attachment to the top of the gums. A measurement of more than three millimeters is an indication of Periodontal Disease. X-rays will reveal the status of the jawbone. If a person has Periodontal Disease, the bone will have regressed away from the necks of the teeth.